What Does the Future Hold for Proton Therapy?
Around 40 years ago, Belgian researcher Yves Jongen believed that proton technology could be the most effective form of cancer treatment. In2013, he won a European Inventor award for his proton generating device. Now, in 2018, there are over 27 proton therapy centers in the United States and most of them are facing serious financial hardship due to insurance restrictions and lack of evidence that shows the procedure is better option than traditional radiation.Proton therapy utilizes nuclear particle accelerators to shoot proton beams into tumors at lightning fast speeds. The machines take up enormous space, sometimes as wi...
Source: radRounds - May 10, 2018 Category: Radiology Authors: Julie Morse Source Type: blogs

FDA Clears MEVION S250i Proton Therapy System with Pencil Beam Technology
Mevion Medical Systems, a company specializing in accelerating protons to very high energies, has now received FDA clearance for its new MEVION S250i system for intensity modulated proton therapy. The product features the company’s HYPERSCAN pencil beam scanning technology, that involves “energy layer switching” and automated collimation, which produces a narrow beam of protons to attack tumors. The device is already approved for sale in Europe. Since proton therapy, unlike gamma ray and X-ray based system, can be used to target specific regions of a tumor in 3D, the MEVION S250i is able to volumetrically...
Source: Medgadget - January 9, 2018 Category: Medical Devices Authors: Editors Tags: Oncology Radiation Oncology Source Type: blogs

ProNova SC360, a New Proton Therapy System Cleared in U.S.
ProNova Solutions, a division of Provision Healthcare based in Tennessee, won FDA clearance for its ProNova SC360 proton therapy system. It took the firm only four years to develop the system and get it cleared, but Tennessee is famous for its high energy physics expertise, going back to the Manhattan Project. The first SC360 installation already happened at the Provision CARES Proton Therapy Center in Knoxville, TN and the first patients are expected to be treated in the coming year. The ProNova SC360 allows patients to be treated at any angle without having to move them, instead directing the beam to come from any d...
Source: Medgadget - December 15, 2016 Category: Medical Equipment Authors: Editors Tags: Radiation Oncology Source Type: blogs

IBA ’s Proteus ONE Proton Therapy System Coming to America
Ion Beam Applications (IBA), a Belgian firm, landed FDA clearance for its latest superconducting accelerator for the Proteus ONE proton therapy. This will allow the company to deliver the Proteus ONE, a “compact” system, to U.S. shores. The actual cyclotron weighs less than 50 metric tons and is less than 2.5 meters (8 feet) in diameter, which is quite small for an accelerator producing 230 MeV. The patient gantry can rotate to any angle to target tumors from any direction best chosen by the physician and the design keeps the patient easily accessible to the medical staff. Targeting is done thanks to a lo...
Source: Medgadget - August 23, 2016 Category: Medical Equipment Authors: Editors Tags: Radiation Oncology Source Type: blogs

Editorial Board Q&A: Edward C. Halperin
Edward C. Halperin, MD, MA, chancellor and chief executive officer, New York Medical College, Valhalla, New York 1.  Describe your current activities. I recently completed a detailed study of the impact of off-shore for-profit medical education on the access of U.S. schools to clinical clerkships. The results of this study will be published in an upcoming issue of Academic Medicine. My colleagues and I also recently completed an analysis of material that was alleged to have been ashes from the Dachau concentration camp crematoria. The ashes were brought back to the U.S. by a returning soldier after the war and stored ...
Source: Academic Medicine Blog - August 13, 2015 Category: Universities & Medical Training Authors: Guest Author Tags: Editorial Board Q & A ed halperin edward c. halperin new york medical college Q&A Source Type: blogs

Fueled by patient demand? No way.
I frankly expected better from HealthLeaders Media, which usually has well researched and thoughtful stories.  This one, though, reads like a press release from the investment bankers and law firms that make a bundle from proton beam projects.Here's the most troubling statement:As more American patients have become aware of the less invasive technology, they are emerging as a key driver of proton beam center growth in the United States, Caron says.Who's Mr. Caron? A partner at Chicago-based law firm McDermott, Will and Emery, who has worked on proton beam therapy center projects for more than eight years.Aided and abe...
Source: Running a hospital - August 26, 2014 Category: Health Managers Source Type: blogs

I wasn't cynical enough about the proton beam industry
I've posted a number of stories about the manner in which the medical-financial complex has pushed through the construction of very high cost proton beam machines, creating a market for a service that has limited clinical support.  It turns out I wasn't cynical enough.Here's a report from The Advisory Board Company entitled, "Achieving financial success in proton therapy in 2013." Here's the imperative laid out in the report:This turns the scientific method on its head. Instead of conducting research to determine if proton beam therapy is clinically more efficacious that traditional radiotherapy, we are told...
Source: Running a hospital - September 7, 2013 Category: Health Managers Source Type: blogs

There are protons in Europe, too
Speaking of proton beams, while they populate like rabbits in the US based on a financial model that includes overpayment for prostate irradiation, there are real debates going on in Europe about their efficacy.  Here are excerpts from an article from the British Medical Journal:Critics say the NHS should not be spending so much money on a treatment that has not been subjected to randomised controlled trials and for which there is little evidence of long term efficacy or safety. In April, an article in the BMJ questioned whether the government’s £250m investment was premature. “For most indications,&...
Source: Running a hospital - September 6, 2013 Category: Health Managers Source Type: blogs

Still nothing from CMS, but Blue Shield of CA acts
One of the mysteries of the medical arms race is why the CMS administrators who have served in the Obama Administration (Don Berwick and Marilyn Taverner) never took action to eliminate the unjustified Medicare subsidy of high cost proton beam machines.So, bravo to Blue Shield of California for doing just that, even in the face of inaction at the federal level.  Here's the story from the Los Angeles Times.  Excerpts:As hospitals race to offer the latest in high-tech care, a major California health insurer is pushing back and refusing to pay for some of the more expensive and controversial cancer treatments. ...
Source: Running a hospital - September 4, 2013 Category: Health Managers Source Type: blogs

A proton therapy center opens: A radiation oncologist reflects
When I was a radiation oncology resident in Boston in the early 80’s, a few brilliant minds in physics and medicine came up with the notion that it would be a good idea to treat certain cancers with a beam of protons.  Protons are the positively charged particles which are created with a hydrogen atom is split into its component parts, a proton and an electron.  When accelerated towards a human being by means of a cyclotron, the proton has a unique characteristic compared to the regular x-ray beams we radiation oncologists use—it rolls into the body creating very little disturbance at the surface, com...
Source: Kevin, M.D. - Medical Weblog - May 24, 2013 Category: Family Physicians Tags: Conditions Cancer Source Type: blogs

Cances of getting to Med School? really need your input!
by pipe8686 (Posted Tue May 07, 2013 6:06 am)Hello all. Thank you beforehand for taking the time to read/reply to my inquiry.I have a low undergrad GPA (2.89) because during my first 2 years I had to deal with tough family circumstances. Starting my third year you can see I start improving though, with my lowest semester GPA being a 3.2 and highest being a 4.0. My BS was in Nuclear Engineering. After I put my academic life back together, and after realizing I wanted to go in the medical field, I pursued a 3 yr masters (with thesis and thesis helped me be a co-author in an article published in the journal of nuclear medicin...
Source: Med Student Guide - May 7, 2013 Category: Medical Students Source Type: forums

Sarcoma – Signs, Histology, and Treatment
Pathophysiology of Soft Tissue Sarcoma 1) sarcomas of the soft tissue are a family of neoplasms affecting the soft tissue of the body Causes 2) previous radiation 3) HIV 4) genetic predisposition such as L-Fraumeni syndrome 5) asbestosis 6) congenital immunodeficiences 7) dioxin exposure 8) Herpes virus Signs and Symptoms 1) most common presentation is an enlarging mass 2) pain 3) neuralgia and neurologic deficits, if the tumor encases a nerve structure 4) metastases are usually via the blood system and most commonly go to the lungs Characteristic Test Findings Radiology – mass on MRI Histology/Gross Pathology ...
Source: Inside Surgery - January 27, 2013 Category: Surgeons Authors: Editor Tags: Oncology angiosarcoma leimyosarcoma malignant fibrous histiocytosis p53 Schwannoma tumor suppressor Source Type: blogs

Reversal of Chicago River, World’s Largest Public Health Project?
We cover medical devices on a daily basis, and some of these gadgets get to be pretty big. Proton therapy systems, for example, use particle accelerators the size of buildings and U.S. Navy’s Mercy hospital ship is 894 feet (272 m) long. Yet, due to the prevalence of typhoid fever and other diseases, more than 100 years ago the city of Chicago undertook a massive public health project of reversing its river to stop the contamination of Lake Michigan, the source of its drinking water. Here’s an interesting video describing the situation that led to the project and what it took to accomplish it:Read Mor...
Source: Medgadget - January 15, 2013 Category: Technology Consultants Authors: Gene Ostrovsky Tags: Public Health the good old days... Source Type: blogs

Is proton therapy the best kind of radiation for prostate cancer?
My radio alarm goes off early in the morning. Often one of the first ads I hear while I am getting ready to move out of bed is from Loma Linda University Medical Center. They are pushing their proton beam radiation therapy early in the morning for old guys like me who might have prostate cancer and can’t sleep much past 5 in the morning. They hail it as causing fewer side effects than standard treatment. What they don’t say is that it is nearly twice as expensive as the standard therapy. So is it better? No one really knows. There have been no head to head comparisons with standard treatment. But, this week, T...
Source: Dr.Kattlove's Cancer Blog - January 8, 2013 Category: Oncologists Source Type: blogs

Dear men: Are proton beams less toxic?
A couple of weeks ago, I explained the business rational for the rapid expansion of proton beam radiation treatment facilities throughout the US.  Misguided reimbursement policies of the federal government aid and abet this land grab by investors and hospitals.In their zeal to build, those hospitals attempt to portray to men that their treatment for prostate cancer using proton beams will be less dangerous than treatment using standard radiation, intensity-modulated radiotherapy, or IMRT.  That there is no basis for this assertion makes no difference during the marketing campaign.Now comes some literature on the ...
Source: Running a hospital - January 3, 2013 Category: Health Managers Source Type: blogs